EarthFix Northwest Environmental News

A Fashionable Climate Model

Nov 4, 2013

Some clever and well-dressed scientists are using a pun to spur some fun educational outreach.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Washington Governor Jay Inslee set ambitious goals when they signed a regional climate change agreement last week with the leaders of California and British Columbia.

But the governors can't reach those goals without their state legislatures, and both governors face legislative roadblocks to upholding the agreement – particularly when it comes to putting a price or a cap on carbon emissions.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will soon help advise the White House on how to respond to the effects of climate change. President Barack Obama appointed Inslee Friday to a task force that includes governors, mayors and tribal officials.

The group will advise the federal government on climate issues like increasing wildfires and ocean acidification, and extreme heat waves. Obama first mentioned establishing the task force in a speech on climate change this June.

Feasting On "Trash Fish" For Sustainability

Nov 1, 2013

When commercial fishermen go out to catch salmon, halibut or black cod, they also bring in some other, lesser-known species.

Wolf eel, sand dab, and skate wing can be delicious, too. But they’re usually thrown out because nobody wants to buy them. Hence, these “trash fish” get wasted even though they could be served on a white tablecloth and paired with wine.

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

Researchers say the population really seems to have taken off this year. With the approach of winter, these stink bugs are leaving the fields and may just crawl into your home.

"A little bit like sweaty socks"

SEATTLE -- The state agency that's leading the cleanup of Puget Sound has released its latest annual report on the health of Puget Sound.

Last year Puget Sound Partnership referred to the Sound as a patient in “critical condition.” This year things don’t look much better.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The polar regions of the world have long been a source of awe and wonder.

But that inspiration often comes second hand. Most of us won’t see these places up close with our own eyes.

Instead we rely on photographers, filmmakers, painters and writers who journey to far flung frozen lands to capture their extreme nature and raw beauty.

First 'Farm To School' Census

Oct 30, 2013

As October winds down, so does this year’s National Farm To School Month. In 2010 Congress passed the resolution formally recognizing the annual celebration.

The USDA describes the ‘movement’ on their website:

Wildlife biologists fitted a pair of young wolves from the Umatilla River pack with GPS collars after the animals were inadvertently trapped Oct. 26 in a forested area east of Weston.

The pups, born in April, were on private land when caught in separate foot-hold traps by a licensed trapper who intended to trap coyotes, according to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said the trapper followed regulations and immediately reported the situation to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A dried-out 3-mile-stretch of creek in central Washington will soon swell again with water. It’s part of a project near Ellensburg to pipe irrigation water from the Yakima River to keep water in the creek for salmon and steelhead.

A one-year time clock is ticking in the state permitting process for a controversial oil terminal proposed in Vancouver, Wash.

On Tuesday, the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council held its first scoping hearing for the Tesoro-Savage terminal at the Port of Vancouver. About 300 people stood in line to get into the hearing; most of them wore red shirts in protest.

Another Fiery Tesla Makes Headlines

Oct 29, 2013

Saw my first Tesla Model S in person last night. Its license plate boasted, ‘GAS LOL.’ Gas may be a funny concept to Tesla car owners, but they might not be laughing about some recent news. The electric vehicle company, like the shiny rock star it is, just can’t stay out of the limelight.

The governors of Oregon and Washington agreed Monday to add new controls on carbon emissions as part of a West Coast strategy to address climate change.

Govs. John Kitzhaber of Oregon and Jay Inslee of Washington joined Gov. Jerry Brown of California and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in announcing a shared set of goals for reducing carbon emissions in the region and responding to climate change.

Greenpeace's Protest Vessel Arrives In NW Waters

Oct 28, 2013

Ever want to board Greenpeace’s iconic ship, The Rainbow Warrior, without getting arrested?

The public is invited to tour the ship often used for water-borne civil disobedience campaigns, while it’s docked this weekend in Vancouver, Wash.

Public tours are available on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Vancouver Landing, just west of 100 Columbia St., on the Columbia riverfront. Special activities for children will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Port of Newport on the Oregon coast is hoping to develop a new log export terminal. That’s led to a conflict with the port’s new neighbors.

Back in 1948, a private company built Newport’s first log export terminal on top of a pair of sunken barges leftover from World War II.

Public Scoping Meeting For Vancouver Port Oil Terminal

Oct 25, 2013

Washington agencies are holding two public meetings Monday and Tuesday on a controversial oil terminal proposed for the Port of Vancouver.

The Tesoro-Savage oil terminal would transport 360,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The oil would come from North Dakota's Bakken fields by trains, be transferred to vessels on the Columbia River and then shipped to West Coast refineries. It's the largest oil terminal project of several proposed in the Northwest.

Increasing Steelhead Numbers With A Little TLC

Oct 25, 2013

Bill Gates Finds Enlightenment At Idaho Nuke Lab

Oct 25, 2013

The billionaire Bill Gates made a trip this to Idaho on behalf of his nuclear power start-up to see what he can learn at the Idaho National Laboratory.

According to the INL's press shop, the Microsoft co-founder found the tour to be pretty insightful.

Gates is chairman of the nuclear reactor startup company TerraPower, which is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash.

Goats In Boats: An Answer To Invasive Species On Islands?

Oct 25, 2013

It could have been just another adventure for Clayton and New York, two goats living in Northeast Portland. But on this trip, they also had a mission.

“It started with just seeing if we could take the goats canoeing,” said Travis Williams, whose girlfriend Erica Somes originally bought the two goats to help out on backpacking trips.